Verstappen wins F1 French GP after Leclerc crashes

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE – JULY 24: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 24, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Max Verstappen got a gift Sunday. And it wasn’t even his birthday. Verstappen moved up from his second place starting spot when Charles Leclerc crashed out of the race from the lead after just 18 laps.

From that point Verstappen checked out and never looked back sailing to his seventh win of the season.

“I think we had really good pace from the start,” said race-winner Verstappen. “I was putting pressure on Charles but following around here with this heat, the tires are overheating, I could never really go for a move, only once into Turn 11.

“But we just tried to stay calm, try to stay close. Of course, we pitted a bit early and from then onwards you never know how the race is going to go. But the car was quick today, and of course unlucky for Charles – I hope he is okay.”

Leclerc took responsibility for the accident which happened when suddenly he lost control of the rear of his Ferrari as he went through Turn 11. He spun hard into the barriers and out of the race. It was the third time he’s crashed out of a race while leading.

“I think it’s just a mistake,” he said. “Tried to take too much around the outside, put a wheel probably somewhere dirty, but it’s my fault and if I keep doing mistakes like this then I deserve not to win the championship.”

Behind Verstappen Mercedes celebrated their first double podium since last year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton finishing his 300th grand prix in second place, while George Russell passed Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez following a late Virtual Safety Car period.

“I couldn’t really be much happier,” said Hamilton. “Of course, if we’d won that would be another step but definitely didn’t expect that result today. Obviously, I was praying and hoping that we could fight for a podium, like a third, but I can’t believe we have a second – this is huge for us.”

Perez was fourth, and Carlos Sainz rallied from a 19th place starting spot and a five second time penalty to finish fifth. Fernando Alonso was sixth, with Landon Norris seventh ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and the second McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo. The final point went to Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

F1 heads to Hungary next week before the August break.

2022 FIA Formula 1 French Grand Prix – Race 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 53 1:30’02.112
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 1:30’12.699 10.587
3 George Russell Mercedes 53 1:30’18.607 16.495
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 53 1:30’19.422 17.310
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 53 1:30’30.984 28.872
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine 53 1:30’44.991 42.879
7 Lando Norris McLaren 53 1:30’54.138 52.026
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 53 1:30’59.071 56.959
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 53 1:31’02.484 1’00.372
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 53 1:31’04.661 1’02.549
11 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 53 1:31’06.606 1’04.494
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 53 1:31’07.560 1’05.448
13 Alexander Albon Williams 53 1:31’10.677 1’08.565
14 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 53 1:31’18.778 1’16.666
15 Mick Schumacher Haas 53 1:31’22.506 1’20.394
16 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 47 – 6 laps
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams 40 – 13 laps
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas 37 – 16 laps
19 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 17 – 36 laps
20 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 17 – 36 laps